Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Music of Women

Q: What's the difference between someone saying something stupid, or in a way misogynistic, and saying it while staring directly at me?
A: Creep factor.

It's a social/discussion meeting of the Albuquerque Polyamory group.  What Tenpin* had to say, after social time had begun, was about his conception of women as musical instruments and how, if he could play them just right, they make beautiful music.  He stared at me, slight grin on his face, while speaking.  This was in the context of discussing his role as a Top (or maybe Dom) and women's roles as bottoms (or maybe subs).

We all just kinda stood there.  Crickets would have been heard were it not Albuquerque where they're infrequent.  It was awkward beyond belief.  What to respond to?  The presumption that women are submissive?  His construction of himself as the Master of women and the Universe?  His objectification of women as object-like?  His conception of women as instruments for him to affect?  The fact that he's said much the same thing to me, directly referencing me, in the past (a different story, creepy, but too personal to retell here)? 

In the conversation was Tenpin himself, Monkey (my partner) and J1 -a mostly gay man.  Monkey, bless his heart, tried to think about what he would say that would rephrase that sentiment in a more acceptable way.  Finding that he just wouldn't ever say anything like that, he opted to pretend he might, but rephrased it saying that he sees a bottom as a musical instrument that, when you and that person are working together, you make beautiful music together.  Or something like that.

Thanks for jumping in, Darling.

*Since this post involves people I actually know, I'm giving everyone pseudonyms.

Friday, October 14, 2011


There's this thing about not having a vehicle in most cities.  It takes a really long time to get anywhere.  Even if the bus comes every 15 minutes (which the oft mentioned 66 does, though it's the only one to do so), you still have to walk to the bus stop, wait for the bus, ride the bus and then walk to where you are going once you're off the bus, which might well be another bus.  +1 for fitness, -10 for timeliness.

So that's the way of things, and as such, sometimes I decide to get the multitude of unrelated things I need in not such excellent places.  I mean, it can take me 5 hours to stop at 3 different places!  So... I won't say it but there is a particular store that tends to have a multitude of seemingly unrelated things to buy that sometimes I now shop at, since I haven't a vehicle.  Yes, I'm ashamed.

But that's not the point!  I've been trying to mail a package all week.  The problem?  First I didn't have any packing tape, having run out of it last time I went to send a package and finding that the USPS solution to this was to sell me another whole packaging tape dispenser rather than just a roll of tape.  I wasn't impressed.  So after I managed to get packing tape, then I needed either stickers or markers to blot out the information about what that box previously held.  I've wanted stickers for a while to label my jams but also, in helping a friend move recently, my one lone sharpie got misplaced and it was bad in need of replacing.

I also needed birdseed, terrible kids paintbrushes (for mixing paints), new canning jars and a few other 'seemingly unrelated' items.  So off to the evil store I went where I found all that I was looking for (except some food items that I refused to buy non-organic).

Because of the horribleness of this store, and plausibly the fact that I'd eaten not but an apple that day, I was feeling right weak and a bit fusty.  I decided that a small bit of highly salted and processed snack food with a toxic color was called for.

Everything heaped into a bag, I slogged out of the store in search of a place to sit and consume my amazing-highway-cone-colored-poison as well as use my new stickers and sharpies to cover up the shoe adds on my package of jam.  There were no benches obvious but turning a corner of the building revealed a large shady swath of concrete where employees likely take smoke breaks and where random trash collects to get out of the wind.  Feeling too overwhelmed to be picky about what the seat of my pants touched, I sat my arse right there on the concrete, in between gum stains, and proceeded to fix up my package and consume my heart attack-in-a-bag. 

A group of teenagers had also collected in this cul-de-sac, though there was no indication if they were blown there by the wind or not.  We minded our own business, they having no use for someone as old as me and me having no use for their social gender-education play.  That is, until one of those games ended up in my face, or at least very close to my face.

My package was fixed up and I was crunching, dry-mouthed, through my snack while trying to shake the stoned sensation of being through the evil store, when a pigeon flew fast and furious towards my head!  I'm happy to announce that it missed me and my snack.  It didn't take long to put together the hee-hawing girls, a guy walking away from me, and the replay of the last few sounds I had ignored before the flight of the winged germ bird, to figure out that this boy thought it was the height of his mighty gender based power to rush at a bird suddenly and scare the crap out of it for the appreciative titterings of girl peers. 

Did I mention how I am unimpressed?  There I was, sitting on the dirty concrete, a smudged page of newspaper with a reeses peanut butter cup wrapper stuck to it trying to wind its way around my possessions, and an almost full grown human figures that he's going to show superior masculinity by his ability to scare... a pigeon. 

I doubt most people would consider what he did cruelty.  But I do believe that animals have emotions and I would say he created fear in that bird.  How is it still being passed to the younger generations that scaring and tormenting is a good and appropriate show of power?

I pondered this as the teens blew out of the corner, that boy swinging his lanyard boasting "C'mere birdie!  I gonna' lasso you!"